- Title: RAF REGIMENT [Main Title]
- Film Number: APY 18
- Other titles:
- Summary: 1943 propaganda film by the Royal Air Force Film Production Unit, detailing the early history of the Royal Air Force Regiment, featuring footage of airmen training for battle, and on deployment in Tunisia in 1942.
- Description: Reel 1: Over footage shot at Pinewood of five RAF Regiment airmen marching in line, superimposed titles "Royal Air Force Film Production Unit presents" with an RAF crest. The men halt and present arms; the camera pans to nearest airman with close-up of his RAF Regiment shoulder title and eagle patch. German footage of Heinkel He-111s and Ju-87 Stukas attacking; commentary credits the Germans with appreciating the importance of seizing air superiority by attacking the enemy's air force on the ground. German artillery, tanks and infantry in action to capture air fields. Aerial footage looking down on an airfield with Junkers Ju-52 transports and a burning hangar. Ground shot at the Aeroclub Bydgoski. Commentary adds that captured airfields must be brought into use; footage of German officer addressing subordinates over a map of Crete. Stukas are bombed up and take off; commentary lists German successes at Norway, Holland, Greece and Crete, before referring to British victory in the Battle of Britain. Commentary introduces the RAF Regiment and their changing role from defence to offence; on a sunny hillside near a stately home a body of men do calisthenics. Bayonet practice (probably filmed at Redhill) and unarmed combat (shot at Tangmere) follows the physical training. Men clear a mine field (probably shot at Tangmere) and are then shown practising with rifle, pistol, Bren gun, Sten gun, Boys' anti-tank rifle, mortar, (these probably shot at Kenley) Bofors gun (a Spitfire makes a very fast and low "beat-up" pass before hauling off), two-pounder anti-tank guns (these shot at Redhill), Beaverette armoured cars ("The Regiment must be proficient in all except the heaviest arms"). Battle training, to hone "the cunning of battle craft"; a section (rifle team and Bren team) demonstrates their battle drill (this probably filmed at Hazelmere). The rifle team vault over a fence. A line of men advances by bounds on a Bren gun position as pyrotechnics and bangers explode around them. The section storm through a hedge and then a field before taking cover in a hedgerow. Men charge through woodland and crawl under obstacles and scale a brick wall. A man makes a path through barbed wire by falling onto it. Men wade through a pond and jump through flames. "Street fighting presents unusual problems"; men led by a sergeant assault a house. A man uses a grappling hook to enter a first floor window. Lengths of toggle-rope are used to get the next man through the window. Men climb from one window to another. Men climb over a tiled roof before jumping down. Reel 2: At sea aboard a Landing Craft Tank (LCT) the commentary states "the men have to be sailors as well"; the men aim their rifles at a supposedly attacking Hawker Hurricane. Footage from an amphibious landing exercise with men running ashore up a shingle beach. LCT 715 is seen. A Hurricane makes a spectacular low pass over the beach at perhaps 20 or 30ft. A lorry drives ashore from LCT 707; "this is total war". Commentary states that the experience is as total for the RAF Regiment "as for an armoured division or the Brigade of Guards". Another Hurricane pass as an armoured car named "Beagle" approaches camera from an LCT. "Bassett" passes; "on their fighting efficiency depends the whole security of the RAF organisation". Footage from a convoy at sea, apparently in November 1942; RAF Regiment gunners man a 20mm gun and a rocket battery is seen firing. November 7th; men climb down cargo nets to landing craft. Wipe to a forward squadron's camp in Tunisia. Men run from tents concealed with straw and form up; one tent is named "The Skyline Club". Twenty-five pounders are cleaned. Medjez El Bab sector. Gun is hooked to its limber (named "Lulu") and lorry. Armoured cars near Medjez El Bab; terrain is rocky with scrub. A 2-inch mortar is loaded and then fired almost horizontally; the camera is able to observe the fall of shot. Bren gun scything left and right. Rolls-Royce armoured cars at speed kicking up dust. Column of armoured cars drives onto an airfield at Benina near Benghazi. Damaged aircraft (Messerschmitt Me-109 and Me-110) and wreckage. A towed Bofors gun is parked in the grounds of a large, ruined building (continuity error here; the type of lorry changes between shots). A lorry with multiple twin machine guns; it is marked "Corafeo Fever I", and in chalk with two swastikas. Gunners manning mounted machine guns. Airmen on the airfield, emplaced Bofors gun behind them. Ground crews arrive. Signal caravan is set up and a generator started. A RAF Ensign is hoisted. RAF Kittyhawk fighter-bombers arrive; one passes on final approach and bears squadron marking GA:X ('GA' denotes RAF 112 Squadron). Other aircraft include HS:Y (?) and HS: M (?) ('HS' denotes RAF 260 Squadron). A shark-mouthed Kittyhawk taxies past wreckage of an Italian aircraft (three fasces insignia of Regia Aeronautica). Dumps of stores; water, petrol and bombs. A massed eleven aircraft take-off. Aerial footage; Kittyhawks in flight with HS:X nearest camera and HS:M behind. Wrecked Italian aircraft are cleared; wrecks include a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bomber, and Macchi C.200 Saetta and Fiat CR.42 Falco fighters. Repairs on the airfield; hangars repaired (striking silhouetted shot) and craters filled. Commentary pays tribute to the "speed, skill and devotion to duty" of RAF ground branches and ascribes victory to individuals' pride in their work and their pride in service; a marching airman smartly halts and orders arms; commentary emphasises confidence borne of training based on individual effiency and self-respect. A guard of honour presents arms; in the background is a large arched (Roman?) aqueduct. With the RAF March playing, footage of a formal parade at Buckingham Palace before an unidentified civilian dignitary in top hat and tailcoat, and the King and Queen; "the RAF Regiment is judged by the highest standards in the land". The King returns the Regiment's salute and shot of RAF Ensign flying. Fade to the shoulder title and eagle of opening titles with "The End".
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1943-09
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: Air Ministry (Production sponsor) Royal Air Force Film Production Unit (Production company) Clayton, Jack (Production individual) Clayton, Jack (Production individual) Twist, D (Production individual) Pollard, William B (Production individual) Hughes (Aircraftman) (Production individual) Shears (Aircraftman) (Production individual) Horn (Wing Commander) (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: George VI, King (person) Elizabeth, Queen (person) Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force Regiment (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 260 Squadron (regiment/service) Royal Air Force, 112 Squadron (regiment/service) Italian Air Force (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Medjez el Bab, Tunisia (geography) Mediterranean Sea (geography) Tangmere, Sussex, England, UK (geography) Redhill, Surrey, England, UK (geography) Tunisia 1942-1943, North Africa, Second World War (event) Allied Air Offensive 1943-1945, Mediterranean, Second World War (event) Royal Air Force 1939-1945 (theme) North Africa 1939-1945 (theme) Amphibious Warfare (theme) Aerial Warfare (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Sound Soundtrack language: English Title language: English
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 2 Footage: 1543 ft; Running time: 18 mins
- Notes: Remarks: interesting that the commentary should so explicitly compare the RAF Regiment to an "an armoured division or the Brigade of Guards", suggesting perhaps an institutional sensitivity by the RAF to the Regiment's fighting reputation. We also might note the way in which this film proudly presents a number of obsolete pieces of equipment. Summary: production documentation suggests that the Regiment unit seen doing unarmed combat and the mortar, Bren, Sten and rifle shoot was 2729 Squadron. Date: precise production date is unclear, but the latest shooting dates refer to August 1943, and the commentary was not recorded until 9 September.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
APY 20 (THE RAF IN COMBINED OPERATIONS [Main Title])